Dynamist Blog

California vs. Genetic Information

Ever alert for new opportunities to regulate business, behavior, and anything else they can think of, California officials are now out to stop personal genetic testing. Wired's Alexis Madriga reports:

Last Monday, the state's laboratory field services group issued 13 cease-and-desist letters to genetic testing companies. Wired.com obtained a copy of the letters (pdf.) from two recipients. And a recent teleconference among regulatory officials confirms the seriousness of the department's intent.

"We [are] no longer tolerating direct-to-consumer genetic testing in California," Karen Nickles, Chief of Laboratory Field Services at the health department, told members of the Clinical Laboratories Advisory Committee on June 13.

Targeted companies include personal genomics startups 23andMe and Navigenics. These services are seen as the leading edge of a new type of health care in which consumers can use their genetic profile to tailor their medical and lifestyle choices. The established medical community, however, is wary of the technology arguing that the medical utility of some tests is unproven. Doctors also complain that direct-to-consumer services bypass them as the gatekeepers and analysts of medical information, which they worry could confuse consumers, not to mention cost them a billing event.

Read the rest, including a politically pointed lead and instructions on how to hear the phone call for yourself, here

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